The legal system
The law in Ireland is found in the Constitution (Bunreacht na hEireann), statute and common law.
Ireland has a common law legal system with a written constitution that provides for a parliamentary democracy based on the British Parliamentary System.
The legal profession
The Irish legal profession is known as a ‘split profession’ as it is divided into two categories: solicitors (who provide service to clients directly) and barristers (who specialise in advocacy and litigation).
Regulation of the solicitors’ profession
The Law Society of Ireland is the educational, representative and regulatory body of the solicitors’ profession in Ireland.
The Law Society exercises statutory in relation to the education, admission, enrolment, discipline and regulation of the solicitors’ profession. It is the professional body for its solicitor members, to whom it also provides services and support.
In order to become a solicitor in Ireland, it is necessary to serve a period of apprenticeship for three years and complete courses of study organised by the Law Society of Ireland. To be admitted to the courses of study, it is necessary to have a university degree or its equivalent or be a barrister or equivalent – this is known as the Preliminary Examination requirement. On meeting these requirements, it is necessary to complete the Society’s Final Examination and completion of the professional course which consists of 14 weeks of intensive lectures followed by examination and 18 months in-house training as part of the apprenticeship of a student. Finally there is a further requirement to complete an Advanced Course which consists of seven weeks of intensive lectures followed by examination. Once this section is completed and competency has been demonstrated in the Irish language, a person is entitled to be admitted to the roll of solicitors.
Solicitor who is NOT a sole practitioner or a compliance partner and/or an anti-money laundering compliance partner: the CPD requirement for the 2016 cycle is 18 hours, to include a minimum of 3 hours management and professional development skills and a minimum of 2 hours regulatory matters.
Solicitor who IS a sole practitioner or a compliance partner and/or an anti-money laundering compliance partner: the CPD requirement for the 2016 cycle is 18 hours, to include a minimum of 3 hours management and professional development skills and a minimum of 3 hours regulatory matters, of which at least 2 hours shall be accounting and anti-money laundering compliance.
England/Wales/Northern Ireland Lawyers
Unless the Society determines otherwise, solicitors whose first place of qualification is England and Wales, or Northern Ireland, are not obliged to pass any subject in the QLTT (see below). However, you need to apply for a Certificate of Admission.
EU/EEA Member State and Swiss Lawyers
If you are a national of a Member State of the European Union and are qualified to practise as a lawyer in your home Member State, you are be able to register as a European qualified lawyer under the Establishment Directive (98/5/EC).
Article 3 of the Directive makes it obligatory for the immigrant lawyer to register with the competent authority in the state in which they are practising. Find out more about EU registered lawyers.
Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test
The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT) is a conversion test which enables lawyers qualified in certain countries outside the Republic of Ireland, to qualify as solicitors in this jurisdiction. There are two sittings of the test each year in Dublin.
For a list of countries covered by the QLTT regulations and more information about the qualification process, please read the QLTT FAQs.
All Other Lawyers
All other lawyers (not qualified in the European Union or subject to a reciprocal agreement) are required to undergo the standard solicitor training process.
For further details please consult S.I. No. 85 of 1991, SI 732 of 2003, the Solicitors Acts, 1954 and 1960, (European Community) Regulations 1991 and SI No 35 of 2010.
Ireland is a member of the European Union and of the World Trade Organisation. Negotiations on behalf of European Union member states are carried out by the European Commission.